Thursday, September 9, 2010

A year in the life of a kitchen

I love to cook; in fact, I grew up cooking. I was my mom's sous chef (and as she pointed out, still am), and could be found at her elbow chopping or mixing on any occasion that involved food (and come on, what occasion didn't?) Once on my own, I began to find my own cooking voice. In college, it was mostly mac and cheese made in the microwave hidden under my dorm bed, since a) the microwave was the only appliance I owned, and b) microwaves were not technically allowed in dorms and therefore had to be hidden.

Fast forward to the present. With a pre-diabetic husband and two little girls to cook for, our eating habits are way different than mine were in college. As a psychologist with a dissertation on eating disorders under my belt, I try to use my knowledge of nutrition, healthy food environments, and family meal time as my motivator to enhance my family's health and food experience. My intent is to cook low fat, low sugar, whole grain meals from whole, organic foods, as much as possible. That means no mixes, nothing from a can (except things like beans or tomatoes), and virtually no white flour. Although both girls are amazing in their willingness to try and like most anything, I do have a husband who loves red meat (whereas I feed the family only poultry and occasionally fish), as well as craves variety. As a rule, I make two vegetarian meals a week, and put extra thought into those so as not to receive flack for "non-meat," aka, boring, meals). So, my aim becomes to cook meals that satisfy everyone, and are full of flavor. And, as are so many of us in this day and age, we're on a budget. Basically, I try to cook with whatever produce is on sale each week, and often shop in bulk, and in season. I pre-plan about two to three weeks worth of meals at a time, then grocery shop and adjust the menus as needed. I don't always stick to what I've chosen, but I try pretty hard. I consider myself a recipe scavenger. Over the years, I have compiled a pretty hefty collection of recipes. I'm frequently checking new cookbooks out of the library (and copying recipes to add to our repertoire), as well as ripping recipes out of magazines, or asking friends (and even restaurants) for the recipe when we eat something we love. One other thing... I'll often cook a meal in bulk, portion out dinner for that night, and freeze the rest for a future meal.

So, with that said... I began a year in the life of a kitchen. As you'll see, my kitchen gets a lot of action.

I hope to document, via photo, each meal that I make, and make new meals as often as possible. I won't bother documenting meals such as cereal with milk, or PB&J, but anything that involves the stove, oven, crockpot, bread machine, or griddle is game. I'll be happy to share recipes anytime.

Happy eating!


Dinner: Oriental Chicken Stir-Fry (chicken, egg, broccoli, cauliflower, red peppers, water chestnuts, carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms, in a soy-sake-broth sauce).

School snack: Granola bars. My little one helped me cut this one, which is why it has a bit of an unusual shape. I'll portion them out, and freeze them.

Purees for the freezer: Cauliflower. I puree lots of fruits and vegs and add them to recipes. Cauliflower often ends up in homemade mac and cheese. I credit this to the Sneaky Chef, whose cookbooks feature this method of cooking.

By way of full disclosure, I should also mention that we made whole wheat peach-strawberry pancakes this morning... they came out kind of flat, and someone (ahem) threw the leftovers in the compost. No photos here.


  1. I love the idea Steph!! Now I will be stalking your kitchen!

  2. Feel free! I love that. You've given me plenty of recipes, too. :)

  3. Likewise! I come here everyday to see what's new. And also to drool over the photos! :)